- User Rating: Excellent
Pros:* Easy to use for preschoolers
* Fun to decorate
* Limited parental involvement
Cons:* Hairstyle difficult to secure
* Stickers fall off
* Top ribbon is a bit funny looking
The Bottom Line: This is a doll kit that isn't too challenging for preschoolers. However, I suggest looking for it on sale and not paying the $20 retail price.
My daughter recently turned 4 and received the Creativity for Kids/Faber-Castell My First Dress-Up Doll as a birthday gift. Now, other parents have griped about arts and crafts kits that are too challenging for their kids, resulting in parents assembling the item. This made me eye the doll with some trepidation. Thankfully, this is NOT one of those kits and my newfound confidence makes me optimistic that there are some age-appropriate craft kits out there.
About the Kit
The colorful box says it all: this is a no-sew, no-mess kit consisting of a cuddly fabric doll with a felt dress that your child can decorate. The 13" doll is pre-stuffed (so no need to stuff her or sew the seams closed) and has a face with embroidered features and "painted-on" blush. The material feels like nylon, so it's presumably some synthetic fabric. She also comes with her pink satin slippers (with tiny little satin bows) already on her feet. So what exactly does your child do to make this a kit? Add hair and decorate the dress.
The doll comes out of the box bald with 6 ribbons in 3 spots (the top of her head and the sides). There are 3 bundles of yarn in black, brown, and yellow. Your child can choose the color and then you tie the yarn on as hair.
There are also several sheets of felt flower and leaf stickers in various colors to decorate the front and back of the pink felt dress. The dress has a cute scalloped hem with some eyelets punched out.
Amazon sells this for about $14 right now but it retails at $20.
My daughter immediately wanted to open the kit and start it after she unwrapped it. We opened up the box and unpacked all the small plastic pouches. First question: which hair color? I suggested black, but she immediately wanted the brown hair. This began the most lengthy process of the morning: unraveling the brown bundle of yarn, looping it into a large "hank of hair" (per the instructions), and then tying it with the 6 ribbons on the doll's head.
The instructions warn you not to knot the ribbons (as it will be more difficult to adjust hairstyles later), but we find that just tying the ribbons inevitably results in the hairstyle shifting around. Moreover, the 2 ribbons on the top of the head look a bit peculiar when tied (look at the photo of the black haired doll). My daughter preferred just the 2 side ribbons tied, so I tied the top ribbons on the back of the doll's head.
Note that the doll isn't very pretty from the back, as this is basically a hank of hair tied to the very front. Thus, it almost looks like she should have another face on the other side as it's bald in the back. Of course, a two-faced doll would freak out most kids.
The instructions explain that you can cut the yarn so you can create bangs, which would explain the placement of the top ribbons. I figured I didn't want to deal with cut strands landing all over the house so we left the bundle of hair intact.
After securing the hair, we then moved on to decorating the dress. After pointing out the samples on the box (which had layered stickers so the flowers are multi-colored), my daughter went to town. She did ask me whether the leaves should be pointing inward or outward, but other than that, I just watched her decorate to her heart's content. That is, until she ran out of stickers and wondered how to get more!
All in all, this was a fun kit for my daughter. She now has a cute doll with a "custom-decorated" dress and we can change out hair color pretty easily. My only minor complaints are that some stickers fall off (including the inside "Designed by _____" tag just 10 minutes after putting it on), the hairstyle is difficult to secure and must be regularly adjusted, and the top ribbons are in a funny place aesthetically. I'd recommend this for other children and would consider buying it for another child if I could get it at the sale price. $20 for this kit is a bit too much.
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Amount Paid (US$): gift - $20?
Type of Toy: Arts and Crafts
Age Range of Child: 3 to 5 Years